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Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

Version of section 3 from 2017-12-12 to 2023-06-12:

Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) The definitions in this subsection apply in this Act.

    aboriginal government

    aboriginal government means a governing body that is established by or under or operating under an agreement between Her Majesty in right of Canada and aboriginal people and that is empowered to enact laws respecting

    • (a) the protection of the environment; or

    • (b) for the purposes of Division 5 of Part 7, the registration of vehicles or engines. (gouvernement autochtone)

    aboriginal land

    aboriginal land means

    • (a) reserves, surrendered lands and any other lands that are set apart for the use and benefit of a band and that are subject to the Indian Act;

    • (b) land, including any water, that is subject to a comprehensive or specific claim agreement, or a self-government agreement, between the Government of Canada and aboriginal people where title remains with Her Majesty in right of Canada; and

    • (c) air and all layers of the atmosphere above and the subsurface below land mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b). (terres autochtones)

    air pollution

    air pollution means a condition of the air, arising wholly or partly from the presence in the air of any substance, that directly or indirectly

    • (a) endangers the health, safety or welfare of humans;

    • (b) interferes with the normal enjoyment of life or property;

    • (c) endangers the health of animal life;

    • (d) causes damage to plant life or to property; or

    • (e) degrades or alters, or forms part of a process of degradation or alteration of, an ecosystem to an extent that is detrimental to its use by humans, animals or plants. (pollution atmosphérique)


    analyst means a person or a member of a class of persons designated as an analyst under subsection 217(1). (analyste)

    biological diversity

    biological diversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, terrestrial and marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they form a part and includes the diversity within and between species and of ecosystems. (diversité biologique)


    biotechnology means the application of science and engineering in the direct or indirect use of living organisms or parts or products of living organisms in their natural or modified forms. (biotechnologie)

    class of substances

    class of substances means any two or more substances that

    • (a) contain the same portion of chemical structure;

    • (b) have similar physico-chemical or toxicological properties; or

    • (c) for the purposes of sections 68, 70 and 71, have similar types of use. (catégorie de substances)


    Committee means the National Advisory Committee established under section 6. (comité)


    ecosystem means a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit. (écosystème)

    enforcement officer

    enforcement officer means a person or a member of a class of persons designated as an enforcement officer under section 217. (agent de l’autorité)


    environment means the components of the Earth and includes

    • (a) air, land and water;

    • (b) all layers of the atmosphere;

    • (c) all organic and inorganic matter and living organisms; and

    • (d) the interacting natural systems that include components referred to in paragraphs (a) to (c). (environnement)

    environmental emergency

    environmental emergency has the meaning given that expression in Part 8. (urgence environnementale)

    environmental quality

    environmental quality includes the health of ecosystems. (qualité de l’environnement)

    Environmental Registry

    Environmental Registry means the registry established under section 12. (Registre)

    federal land

    federal land means

    • (a) land, including any water, that belongs to Her Majesty in right of Canada, or that Her Majesty in right of Canada has the right to dispose of, and the air and all layers of the atmosphere above and the subsurface below that land; and

    • (b) the following land and areas, namely,

      • (i) the internal waters of Canada as determined under the Oceans Act, including the seabed and subsoil below and the airspace above those waters, and

      • (ii) the territorial sea of Canada as determined under the Oceans Act, including the seabed and subsoil below and the air and all layers of the atmosphere above that sea. (territoire domanial)

    federal source

    federal source means

    • (a) a department of the Government of Canada;

    • (b) an agency of the Government of Canada or other body established by or under an Act of Parliament that is ultimately accountable through a minister of the Crown in right of Canada to Parliament for the conduct of its affairs;

    • (c) a Crown corporation as defined in subsection 83(1) of the Financial Administration Act; or

    • (d) a federal work or undertaking. (source d’origine fédérale)

    federal work or undertaking

    federal work or undertaking means any work or undertaking that is within the legislative authority of Parliament, including

    • (a) a work or undertaking operated for or in connection with navigation and shipping, whether inland or maritime, including the operation of ships and transportation by ship;

    • (b) a railway, canal, telegraph or other work or undertaking connecting one province with another, or extending beyond the limits of a province;

    • (c) a line of ships connecting a province with any other province, or extending beyond the limits of a province;

    • (d) a ferry between any province and any other province or between any province and any country other than Canada;

    • (e) airports, aircraft and commercial air services;

    • (f) a broadcast undertaking;

    • (g) a bank or an authorized foreign bank within the meaning of section 2 of the Bank Act;

    • (h) a work or undertaking that, although wholly situated within a province, is before or after its completion declared by Parliament to be for the general advantage of Canada or for the advantage of two or more provinces; and

    • (i) a work or undertaking outside the exclusive legislative authority of the legislatures of the provinces. (entreprises fédérales)


    fuel means any form of matter that is combusted or oxidized for the generation of energy. (combustible)


    government means the government of a province or of a territory or an aboriginal government. (gouvernement)


    Minister means the Minister of the Environment. (ministre)

    movement within Canada

    movement within Canada or transport within Canada means movement or transport between provinces. (mouvement au Canada ou transport au Canada)

    pollution prevention

    pollution prevention means the use of processes, practices, materials, products, substances or energy that avoid or minimize the creation of pollutants and waste and reduce the overall risk to the environment or human health. (prévention de la pollution)


    prescribed means prescribed by regulations made under this Act. (Version anglaise seulement)


    province includes a territory. (province)


    release includes discharge, spray, inject, inoculate, abandon, deposit, spill, leak, seep, pour, emit, empty, throw, dump, place and exhaust. (rejet)


    sell includes to offer for sale or lease, have in possession for sale or lease or deliver for sale or lease. (vente)


    substance means any distinguishable kind of organic or inorganic matter, whether animate or inanimate, and includes

    • (a) any matter that is capable of being dispersed in the environment or of being transformed in the environment into matter that is capable of being so dispersed or that is capable of causing such transformations in the environment,

    • (b) any element or free radical,

    • (c) any combination of elements of a particular molecular identity that occurs in nature or as a result of a chemical reaction, and

    • (d) complex combinations of different molecules that originate in nature or are the result of chemical reactions but that could not practicably be formed by simply combining individual constituents,

    and, except for the purposes of sections 66, 80 to 89 and 104 to 115, includes

    • (e) any mixture that is a combination of substances and does not itself produce a substance that is different from the substances that were combined,

    • (f) any manufactured item that is formed into a specific physical shape or design during manufacture and has, for its final use, a function or functions dependent in whole or in part on its shape or design, and

    • (g) any animate matter that is, or any complex mixtures of different molecules that are, contained in effluents, emissions or wastes that result from any work, undertaking or activity. (substance)

    sustainable development

    sustainable development means development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (développement durable)

    transient reaction intermediate

    transient reaction intermediate means a substance that is formed and consumed in the course of a chemical reaction. (intermédiaire de réaction)


    transit means, except for the purposes of sections 139 and 155, the portion of an international transboundary movement of waste or material referred to in subsection 185(1) through the territory of a country that is neither the country of origin nor the country of destination of the movement. (transit)


    undertaking includes a business. (Version anglaise seulement)

  • Marginal note:Meaning of Ministers and either Minister

    (2) Where the word Ministers is used in this Act, it refers to both the Minister and the Minister of Health, and where the expression either Minister is used in this Act, it refers to either the Minister or the Minister of Health.

  • Marginal note:Class of substances

    (3) For the purposes of this Act, other than subsection (1), substance includes a class of substances.

  • 1999, c. 28, s. 151, c. 33, s. 3
  • 2001, c. 34, s. 27(E)
  • 2017, c. 26, ss. 21(F), 63(E)

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